for this game

Sonnanstine, Rays keep rolling, top Cardinals

May 17, 2008 - 4:36 AM By Jim Walsh PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- It doesn't look like interleague play is going to slow down the Tampa Bay Rays.

Andy Sonnanstine tossed eight strong innings and the Rays banged out 12 hits en route to a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Friday.

Akinora Iwamura had three hits and an RBI for Tampa Bay (25-17), which sits atop the American League East Division and moved a franchise-record eight games over .500.

"Right now, we are playing really good baseball," Iwamura said through an interpreter. "In the past we've had a bad record, but we never forget about it and we just try to keep up this winning attitude."

Sonnanstine (6-1) registered his fifth consecutive win. The 25-year-old righthander allowed just one run and eight hits with four strikeouts and no walks over his 98-pitch outing.

"Even in the bullpen before the game, I felt like my control was there," Sonnanstine said. "I had good control of the changeup, which is a thing I haven't had in the past. I felt great in the 'pen and I took that into the game."

Sonnanstine, who improved to 11-3 in his last 18 starts dating to last season, was able to help his cause with a pair of hits and a run scored. It was the second two-hit game of his career.

"I love hitting," Sonnanstine said. "It's something we don't get to do all the time, so anytime we get to go up there and take our hacks we are excited about the possibility of getting a hit."

Troy Percival pitched a perfect ninth, notching his 11th save as Tampa Bay won for the eighth time in nine games.

The Rays got on the board against St. Louis starter Braden Looper (5-3) in the third inning with run-scoring singles from Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena. Tampa Bay increased the lead to 3-0 in the next frame with a two-out RBI single by Iwamura.

Looper struggled from the outset, surrendering hits in each of his six innings. The righthander was touched for three runs and a season-high 10 hits with two walks and a strikeout.

"I just didn't make enough good pitches today," said Looper, who threw a career-high 117 pitches. "A few more here and there and it could have been a lot closer game than it was. I just tried to battle through it the best I could and make some good pitches when I needed to."

Chris Duncan's home run provided the only spark for the sputtering Cardinals, who have lost five of their last six games.

"We're in a tough time right now," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "You just have to keep battling, play your way through it, never give in and turn it around tomorrow."

St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols was held hitless in four at-bats, snapping his 14-game hitting streak and halting his 42-game string of reaching base safely in each game he has played in this season.

"Our approach on (Pujols) honestly was keep him in the yard," Sonnanstine said. "He's one of the best hitters in the game right now and I'm very happy about the way we went about pitching him tonight."

Cardinals reliever Chris Perez made his major league debut, tossing a hitless seventh inning. The 22-year righthander was a closer with Class AAA Memphis before his promotion earlier in the day to replace the injured Jason Isringhausen.








  • ML
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 12 0
    ST LOUIS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 8 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TAM - ANDY SONNANSTINE, TROY PERCIVAL (9TH) AND DIONER NAVARRO
    STL - BRADEN LOOPER, CHRIS PEREZ (7TH), MIKE PARISI
    (8TH) AND YADIER MOLINA

    HOME RUNS: TAM - NONE
    S

    May 16 10:48 PM
  • 10
    roots
    jayrthomas Added 5 roots

    Rays 3, Cardinals 1  Top 9, 0 OutsMay 16 10:35 PM


  • ML
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CHRIS DUNCAN (4) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF ANDY SONNANSTINE.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 3, ST LOUIS 1
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A PUJOLS (.349, 0-FOR-3)

    Rays 3, Cardinals 1  Bot 8, 0 OutsMay 16 10:29 PM
  • 5
    roots
    DDrake Added 5 roots

    Rays 3, Cardinals 0  Top 7, 0 OutsMay 16 10:02 PM


  • ML
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY AKINORI IWAMURA SCORED DIONER NAVARRO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A IWAMURA ON FIRST, A SONNANSTINE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 3
    ST LOUIS 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C CRAWFORD (.278, 1-FOR-2, RBI)

    Rays 3, Cardinals 0  Top 4, 0 OutsMay 16 9:18 PM


  • ML
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS PENA SCORED AKINORI IWAMURA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C PENA ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 2
    ST LOUIS 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: E LONGORIA (.217, 1-FOR-1)

    Rays 2, Cardinals 0  Top 3, 0 OutsMay 16 8:57 PM


  • ML
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARL CRAWFORD SCORED ANDY SONNANSTINE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C CRAWFORD ON FIRST, A IWAMURA ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 1
    ST LOUIS 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B UPTON (.278, 1-FOR-1)

    Rays 1, Cardinals 0  Top 3, 0 OutsMay 16 8:54 PM